Hospital TV remotes are potential reservoir of bacteria

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According to RID (Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths) over thirty billion dollars is spent each year in the US on hospital-acquired infections. (Infections caught while hospitalized). These very preventable infections cost an additional $15,000.00 on average per patient infected and kill more people in this country than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined.

The rapidly rising cost of healthcare is a subject that has everyone talking – from the halls of Congress to the grocery line in the supermarket. Given the enormity of the expense involved, it is sometimes difficult to imagine that a small, inexpensive change can make any difference.  However many hospitals and assisted living facilities are finding that just such a simple step can be both cost effective while improving patient safety, and maybe even saving lives.  

Countless studies have already proven that properly washing one's hands can have a dramatic effect on reducing hospital-acquired infections and hospitals throughout the country are now looking at other culprits. One surprisingly major guilty party of contamination is the seemingly innocent, yet often-touched TV remote control. Studies have shown television remotes can carry dangerous antibiotic–resistant bacteria, including the deadly bacteria MRSA. Dr. David Peques who directs the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Epidemiology Program and Molecular Epidemiology says, "Items such as hospital television remotes are one huge potential reservoir of bacteria."

As these germ-harboring entities are being identified, medical facilities are seeking practical and effective solutions. Hospital officials are realizing the nooks and crannies that are part of standard TV remotes are an infection control nightmare. Many assisted living facilities and leading hospitals including top 10 rated "America's Best Hospitals" UCLA Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center have been replacing the bacteria laden TV remote in high-risk areas and testing a product called the Clean Remote. This TV remote has a non-porous flat surface and has been clinically proven by the University of Arizona to be 99% cleaner than any other remote tested. The Clean Remote's surface eliminates areas where germs and bodily fluids can hide and begin to incubate. Additionally it is uniquely designed not only for easy cleaning, but the Clean Remote actually resists bacteria growth.

While the technology is new, a well-established Tampa, FL based firm, New Remotes Inc., manufactures the product. The company is the largest nationwide manufacturer of remote controls for the healthcare and hospitality industries.

With all eyes on Washington to find ways to control the costs of healthcare, perhaps small changes such as the Clean Remote can have a huge impact. Preventing the spread of illness in hospitals is not only important to patient care, it is just good business.




The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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